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Bull
Bull
238

from the unity of Rome. Bull had, of course, a sufficient answer from his own point of view to give to these questions, and he gave it in a treatise entitled 'The Corruptions of the Church of Rome,' the most popular, perhaps, and the liveliest of all his works.

Bull was rector of Suddington for twenty-seven years, and had to encounter much opposition from his dissenting parishioners; and though he was quite strong and conciliatory enough to hold his own, he must have suffered much worry in the process. Immediately after the publication of the 'Defensio' Bull's prospects began to brighten. He had been presented in 1678 to a prebend of small value at Gloucester by the lord chancellor (the Earl of Nottingham), to whom in gratitude he dedicated his great work. In 1685 he was presented to the rectory of Avening, a living of about double the value of the two Suddingtons. The increase of income was most acceptable; for though he had a small patrimony besides his living, it is clear that he was straitened in his means. His first work at Avening was to rebuild the parsonage-house, which had been burnt down. He had some little trouble with his new parishioners, but he succeeded there, as he had done elsewhere, in living it down. In 1686 he was appointed by Archbishop Sancroft to the archdeaconry of Llandaff. The archdeaconry was the archbishop's 'option' He was also, on the nomination of his old friend Bishop Fell, admitted to the degree of D.D. at Oxford without the payment of the usual fees, although he had never taken any university degree. After the Revolution he was placed on the commission of peace, and continued to act as a magistrate until he was made a bishop. A general effort was then being made to induce magistrates to enforce the laws against immorality and profaneness; this was one of the chief objects of the societies for the reformation of manners, of which Bull was an ardent supporter, and to help on this work was the avowed object for which Bull undertook his magisterial duties. In March 1704-5 Bull was appointed bishop of St. David's. His age and infirmities prevented him from being an active prelate. He once formed a plan for making a tour of his diocese, but a severe illness detained him at Brecknock, where he resided, and his son-in-law, Mr. (afterwards archdeacon) Stevens, and Mr. Powell went as his commissioners to deliver his charge. Hearne writes in his 'Diary,' under date 7 Feb. 1706-7, that 'when the Bill for Security of the Church of England was read . . . Dr. Bull sate in the Lobby of the House of Lords all the while smoking his Pipe' (Hearne, Collections, i. 324, Oxford Hist. Soc.) He held the see only four years, during the whole of which time he was obviously failing. He died 17 Feb. 1709-10, and was buried at Brecknock, where his widow spent the brief remainder of her days. His life was written shortly after his decease by Robert Nelson, who is said to have shortened his own life by the assiduous pains he bestowed upon this labour of love.

The dates and circumstances of publication of Bull's works have been already noticed. The whole of the Latin works were collected and edited by Dr. Ernest Grabe in 1703, with a preface and many annotations by the editor, which gave great satisfaction to the author. The edition is in one volume folio. These works have been translated into English at various times. A translation of the 'Harmonia Apostolica' was made by the Rev. T. Wilkinson of Great Houghton in 1801. The ' Harmonia', 'Examen Censurae,' 'Defensio,' and 'Judicium' form part of the 'Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology' published at Oxford 1842-55. The 'Opinion of the Catholic Church,' a translation of the 'Judicium,' was published with a memoir of Bull's life by T. Rankin in 1825, and a full edition of all the works of Bull (including the sermons and Nelson's Life), 'collected and revised by the Rev. E. Burton,' was published, in seven volumes octavo, at the Clarendon Press, Oxford, in 1827. The 'Corruptions of the Church of Rome' was so popular that it reached a fourth edition in 1714. It was translated into Italian, and passed through more than one edition in that tongue. 'A Companion to Candidates for Orders, or the Great Importance of the Priestly Office,' by Bull, was published after his death, in 1714. He also left orders to his son Robert to publish his sermons after his death. This was accordingly done. They are only twenty in number, but they deal with curious and interesting subjects in an interesting manner. 'On the Middle State,' 'On the low and mean earthly condition of the Blessed Virgin Mary as contrasted with her primitive and proper title of Mother of God,' 'On S. Paul's Thorn in the Flesh and the Cloke he left at Troas,' 'On the Existence and Ministration of Angels,' ' On Degrees of Glory in Christ's Heavenly Kingdom,' are the titles of some of them. The most popular is his visitation sermon, 'Concerning the Difficulty and Danger of the Priestly Office,' which covers the same ground as the 'Companion' above mentioned.

[Nelson's Life of Bishop Bull; Bull's Works, passim; Biog. Brit. (Kippis), ii. 695; Classic Preachers of the English Church, St. James' Lectures, 2nd series.]

J. H. O.